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The Pa Department of Agriculture Food Employee Certification Act, 3 Pa C.S.A. 6501 - 6510 was amended and signed into Law on November 24, 2010 and took effect January 22, 2011.

The Act Food Employee Certification Act, 3 Pa C.S.A. 6501 - 6510, as amended, requires one supervisory employee per food facility to become certified in food safety and sanitation by taking a nationally recognized food manager certification exam and obtaining a National Certificate of Completion.  National exams are those that have been approved by the Conference of Food Protection.  There are many facilitators of these courses and exams throughout Pennsylvania.  A list of trainers and training classes who are known to give these National courses and exams can be found under publications (FEC Course Listing).  The certification training may be obtained through classroom, computer-based, combination home study/classroom, or home study.

  • Nationally recognized exams include: Prometrics, National Restaurant Association (ServSafe), National Registry and, Inc. and can be found at:,  Be cautious you are taking a Manager Certification course and NOT a Food Handlers Course.  A Manager Certification course will end with you taking a proctored exam, even if you take a computer based or home based course. If you take a home based or computer based course you will typically be issued a Certificate of Completion. This certificate must be taken to a proctor to take the final exam and obtain the National Certificate of Completion.
  • The Act does not require the certified person to be on premises during all hours of business, but does require that they be available during all hours of operation.  When in the facility, the certified supervisory employee is the Person-in-Charge (PIC).
  • The course Certification Certificate must be posted in the facility in view of the public.
  • New establishments will have 90 days to comply with the Act; existing establishments which are not in compliance due to employee turnover or other loss of certified person shall have three (3) months from the date of loss to comply.
  • A person may only serve as the certified manager for one (1) facility. (Exemption: An event where the facility has multiple stands. Discuss this situation with your Santiarian).

There are some Local Health Jurisdictions with their own Certification program. These include: Allegheny County Health Department, Bucks County Health Department, Chester County Health Department, Montgomery County Health Department, Philadelphia County Health Department and State College Borough Health Department. Retailers in these jurisdictions should contact the Local Health Department directly for more information.

The types of food service establishments that need to comply with the Act include:

  • All Retail Food Facilities making/selling potentially hazardous foods, with some exceptions.
  • Restaurants (take-out or eat-in), fast foods to gourmet
  • Deli's - make sandwiches, slice meats and cheeses, hot foods
  • Snack bars - prepare hot and cold foods
  • Prepare pierogies
  • Belgium waffles with frozen dessert topping
  • Stadiums, race tracks, parks
  • Food vendors - hot dogs and other hot and cold foods
  • Donut shops that prepare sandwiches, etc.
  • Bars, clubs
  • Recreational facilities
  • Commissaries, caterers
  • Retail Frozen Desserts manufacturers
  • Retail bakeries manufacturing products which require refrigeration: cheesecakes, cream filled pies, cannoli, custard pies, meringue pies, etc.
  • Fairs/carnivals Juice extract stand (lemonade and other fruits)
  • Hot dogs and hamburgers
  • Hand dipped ice cream
  • Pizza prepared on site
  • Fry, grill, cook, roast, steam any foods
  • Prepare sandwiches, subs, salads
  • Prepare fresh fruit cup

Exemptions to the Act:

The following are exempt from the provisions of this Act and although are encouraged to take a class are not required to do so.

  • Food establishments where only commercially prepackaged food is handled and sold.  This includes TCS foods (time/tempeature controlled for safety) and NON-TCS foods.
  • Food establishments that do not handle TCS foods.
  • All food manufacturing facilities
  • An organization classified as tax-exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
  • Food establishments managed on a not-for-profit basis by a volunteer fire company or an ambulance, religious, charitable, fraternal, veterans, civic, agriculture fair or agricultural association or any separately chartered auxiliary of any of the above.
  • A food establishment managed on a not-for-profit basis by organizations supporting extra-curricular recreational activities for youth of all public, private and parochial school systems.
    Examples: school booster clubs, Little League or Midget Football Associations.